Week 3, January 23-27
The House Democrats kicked off the week with Governor Kelly’s State of the State address. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is pushing for a pay raise, citing the significant financial barriers to public service. Anti-abortion legislation was introduced in both chambers.
The House Rules Debate
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives debated HR 6004, the rules that will govern the House for the next two years.
“Kansas House tangles on procedural rules before preserving late-night debates, bill bundling,” Kansas Reflector, 1/26/2023
“This Kansas rep wanted to run for House speaker on a transparency platform. The GOP shut him down.” Kansas Reflector, 1/9/2023
A New Mural: Recognizing and Honoring the 1st Kansas (Colored) Voluntary Infantry
On Thursday, January 26, Assistant Democratic Leader Valdenia Winn (KCK) provided testimony to the Veterans & Military Affairs committee in support of HB 2088. The bill directs the capitol preservation society to develop and approve plans for a mural honoring the 1st Kansas (Colored) Voluntary Infantry regiment. The 1st Kansas Colored Infantry was the first African American unit to serve in the Civil War.
Freedom For All: LGBTQ+ Rights
Reps. Susan Ruiz (Overland Park), Brandon Woodard (Lenexa) and Heather Meyer (Overland Park) introduced two pieces of legislation this week that embody key Democratic values of freedom and fairness. HB 2177 legalizes gay marriage, and HB 2178 amends the Kansas act against discrimination to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and status as a veteran as protected classes.
For decades, Kansas legislators have been paid $88.66 per day, plus an additional $157 per day for meals and lodging costs during the legislation session. This low pay, in addition to the difficulty of traveling out of town for three to four months per year, creates a very difficult environment for parents of young children or people at the prime of their careers to serve. This year, the momentum for a pay increase couldn’t be more clear -- or more bipartisan.
“Young Kansas lawmakers say pay increase is needed to remain in office, attract better candidates,” Kansas Reflector, 1/25/2023
“Kansas legislators probably make less than you do. Should they change that in 2023?,” Topeka Capital-Journal, 1/25/2023
The People Spoke
Despite a landslide victory for pro-choice and freedom advocates on August 2, legislators in both chambers have introduced bills to ban abortion. In November, Kansans showed up en masse yet again to overwhelmingly retain the Kansas State Supreme Court justices who proclaimed a woman’s right to bodily autonomy is protected by the Kansas Constitution.”
House Democrats will alert the public if, and when, hearings on the bill are scheduled and how to submit testimony. Read HB 2181 here.
“Abortion ban, other proposals likely to fail in Kansas. Why are lawmakers still pushing them?” Wichita Eagle, 1/27/2023
“First Kansas abortion bill of 2023: It’s everything we voted not to do and then some,” Wichita Eagle, Opinion: Dion Lefler, 1/27/2023
“How Kansans for Life plans taxpayer money to benefit anti-abortion pregnancy centers,” Topeka Capital-Journal, 1/26/2023
“Lawmaker draws up new abortion amendment,” Sunflower State Journal, 1/26/2023
“Months after Value Them Both failed, Kansas March for Life unveils new anti-abortion slogan,” Topeka Capital-Journal, 1/25/2023
“Capitol Update: Rep. Jo Ella Hoye vows to fight for abortion access,” Rep. Jo Ella Hoye, Shawnee Mission Post, 1/23/2023
The Kansas Legislative Internship Program offers internships for students enrolled in secondary or post-secondary institutions. No specific major is required, but strong communication skills and a basic understanding of government and the legislative process are helpful. Internships take place during the Spring Legislative Session, starting in January and ending in April. Interns are assigned to a specific legislator and are expected to attend a minimum of 10 days during the legislative session. The program offers opportunities for legislative support, constituent services, and office support.
I am excited to introduce Rishiraj Pandya, our intern for the Kansas Legislative Internship Program. Rishi is a highly accomplished and dedicated freshman at Washburn University who graduated from Washburn Rural High School in 2022. He has a deep interest and aptitude in politics and government, having taken 13 Advanced Placement classes, including in history and government, and participating in the policy debate and forensics teams for four consecutive years. Furthermore, Rishi's ambition to attend medical school to become an anesthesiologist, coupled with his professional experience as a receptionist at a rehab facility in Topeka, make him an ideal candidate for the Kansas Legislative Internship Program.
More information on the internship can be found here:
An up close look of Governor Kelly as she gives her State of the State address
Rishi Pandya, our legislative intern for this session